MAFTA Factsheet: Temporary Movement of Skilled Personnel

15 January 2013

The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) provides a strong basis for increased bilateral trade and investment with Malaysia, an important regional trading partner and neighbour. It builds on the commitments Australia and Malaysia have already made in the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) to liberalise and expand the bilateral trade relationship. It provides significant market access gains for Australian producers, exporters and service supplies. It also provides for greater ease of doing business in Malaysia, making it easier both to enter and operate in the Malaysian market.

Key Temporary Movement of Skilled Personnel outcomes

  • MAFTA increases the number of Australian business executives, senior managers and experts allowed to live and work in a range of sectors in Malaysia, and allows them to stay for longer periods.
  • Malaysia has extended the scope of its commitments on ‘Business Visitors’ to include goods sellers and investors. Goods sellers and investors are now permitted to enter and stay in Malaysia for a period of 90 days.
  • Spouses and dependants of Australians working in Malaysia for a period of 12 months or more are permitted to stay and, in certain circumstances, to work in Malaysia for the same period as the primary applicant.
  • Malaysia has committed to a more timely and transparent visa application process for skilled personnel, which includes notifying applicants for work permits of the outcome of their applications before they arrive in Malaysia.
  • The temporary movement of skilled personnel commitments apply equally to Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents, and cover a range of professions.

Key Temporary Movement of Skilled Personnel outcomes for the Financial Services Industry

  • For commercial banks, merchant banks and investment banks, Malaysia has
    • raised the number of Australian senior managers per organisation from two to five;
    • raised the number of Australian specialists per organisation from five to ten;
    • extended the maximum period of stay from five years to ten years; and
    • Malaysia has also expanded the scope of areas specialists may work in, and has removed all limitations on representative offices.
  • For direct insurance companies, Malaysia has
    • raised the number of Australian senior managers per organisation from one to five;
    • raised the number of Australian specialists per organisation from five to ten;
    • extended the maximum period of stay from five years to ten years; and
    • expanded the scope of areas Australian specialists may work in.
  • For reinsurance and retrocession services, Malaysia has
    • raised the number of Australian senior managers per organisation from two to five;
    • raised the number of Australian specialists per organisation from three to six; and
    • extended the maximum period of stay from five years to ten years.
  • For securities broking services, Malaysia has
    • removed restrictions on the number of foreign dealer’s representatives per organisation; and
    • extended the maximum period of stay from five to ten years.
  • Malaysia has extended the maximum period of stay from five years to ten years for a range of specific financial services sub-sectors.

Key Temporary Movement of Skilled Personnel outcomes for Professional Services

  • Malaysia has removed all market access limitations on the temporary movement of Australian accounting, auditing and bookkeeping service suppliers.
  • Malaysia has removed numerical limits on Australian suppliers of taxation services.
  • On architectural services, Malaysia has
    • raised the number of service suppliers per country from two to four for Australia; and
    • removed the requirement for Australian architects to complete a qualifying examination.

Key Temporary Movement of Skilled Personnel outcomes for Private Higher Education Services

  • Malaysia has raised the quantitative limitation on Australian lecturers from a maximum of 20 per cent of the total lecturers employed at an institution to 30 per cent.
Last Updated: 16 January 2013